Female Tommies: The Frontline Women of the First World War - A Talk by Elisabeth Shipton

Heritage

The First World War saw one of the biggest ever changes in the demographics of warfare, as thousands of women donned uniforms and took an active part in conflict for the first time in history

Female Tommies looks at the military role of women worldwide during the Great War and reveals the extraordinary women who served on the frontline.


Through their diaries, letters and memoirs, meet the women who defied convention and followed their convictions to defend the less fortunate and fight for their country. Follow British Flora Sandes as she joins the Serbian Army and takes up a place in the rearguard of the Iron Regiment as they retreat from the Bulgarian advance. Stow away with Dorothy Lawrence as she smuggles herself to Paris, steals a uniform and heads to the front. Enlist in Russia’s all-female ‘Battalion of Death’ alongside peasant women and princesses alike.

The personal accounts of these women, who were members of organisations such as the US Army Signal Corps, the Canadian Army Medical Corps, the FANY, WRAF, WRNS, WAAC and many others, provide a valuable insight into what life was like for women in a male-dominated environment.

Elisabeth Shipton has worked as Archivist for New College, Oxford, the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust, and the Royal Green Jackets Museum.